I'm using XFCE, Gnome, and Unity at the moment, while keeping a close eye on KDE (my first and most loved desktop, until they released version 4 (which now looks like it's ready for mass consumption, but I'm still nostalgic about the power and speed of KDE 3) and Gnome 2.
I actually find Gnome 3 nice, but not "tweakable" enough. I hope it won't take too long until it's as customisable as Gnome 2 used to be... Talk about fixing what's not broken and breaking it in the process...
Anyway, what I hate the most about Gnome 3 and its Shell:
- The (lack of) window buttons: why remove the maximise, minimise, and menu? Doesn't make sense to me...
- The lack of themes, colour sets, font configuration, etc... customisation and personalisation out of sight.
- It isn't as light as Gnome 2 (at least it doesn't feel as light and nimble as its predecessor IMO)
Number 3: Use XFCE, LXDE, or Ubuntu 11.04 in Gnome classic mode.
Number 2: Wait until the stuff is available. :(
Number 1: Check this out --
You'll need to install (if you haven't got it yet in your system) gconf-editor first.
Invoke it within the terminal or press the ALT and F2 keys simultaneously, and type gconf-editor at the prompt.
Now navigate to desktop > gnome > shell > windows and change the button_layout key to menu:minimize,maximize,close as shown in the screenshot below:
After you log out and log back in, your windows will have the proper buttons. Of course you could make whatever changes as you see fit. The long description is very useful.
Screenshot taken on openSUSE Edu Li-f-e 12.1, yours may differ. It's a brilliant distro that is enticing me to go back where it all started for me (in terms of Linux addiction): SUSE.